Frequently Asked Questions

Planning your gate system

Frequently Asked Questions

Motor types and usage

What gate motor do I need for my level of use?

Domestic Use
For single dwelling properties electro-mechanical 230v gate motors with duty cycles in the 30%-50% range will usually be suitable.

Multi-Dwelling / Light Commercial Use
For multi-dwelling properties and businesses with lower vehicle movements electro-mechanical 24v or hydraulic gate motors with duty cycles in the 65%-85% range are recommended.

Commercial / Industrial Use
Where high volumes or intense periods of use are expected then industrial level electro-mechanical (often 3-phase) and hydraulic gate motors are recommended with duty cycles in the 85%-100% range.

What type of gate motor do I need?

Sliding gate motors
If you already have a sliding gate then this is the motor type you will need. If you do not have a gate yet and are considering which gate and motor combination will work best for your property here are a few points to note about sliding gates:-

Smaller operating area - the sliding gate needs space to move equivalent to twice the width of the gate opening, but as the gate does not swing you will have move available space on the property's driveway/parking area.

Hardware - you will need guide track and wheels, support rollers/brackets and gate stops or a cantilever systems to support the gate and ensure it runs true.

Drive mechanism - you will need to decide whether you wish to use a cog and rack drive or chain drive. Cog and rack motors are quieter but require a truer gate travel, whereas chain drives are noisier but more forgiving if the gate has a bit of a wobble!

Security - sliding gates are more difficult to ram or force open, so where anti-vehicle protection is required a sliding gate is recommended.

Swing gate motors
They can generally be used in either double of single gate configurations. There are six types of swing gate motor, each with strengths and weaknesses that may or may not meet your criteria.

Ram, standard
Cost effective - these are the vanilla of gate motors, with the motor configured perpendicular to the ram, making them a simple but effective design and usually cheaper than other types. Look for quality materials and longer warranties. Usually only inward opening with an angle of 90 to 130. Often unsuited for gates with large pillars.

Ram, Linear
Slim-line - these motor have improved aesthetics with the motor configured in-line with the ram to create a slimmer / more compact design. They tend to be cost effective, but will be more expensive than standard rams due to the more involved engineering. Usually only inward opening with an angle of 90 to 130. Often unsuited for gates with large pillars.

Tow-Eye, Linear
Covered mechanism - tow-eyed gate motors are designed so that there is no exposed ram when the gate is actuated. They therefore offer slight improvements in motor lifetime as the systems offer better weather protection. Tow-eye gate motors also have improved aesthetics, offering a less-mechanical and more discrete appearance when opening and closing the gate. They will generally be more expensive than like for like linear rams. Usually only inward opening with an angle of 90 to 130. Often unsuited for gates with large pillars.

Small pillars and restricted spaces - these motors are recommended where either gatepost/pillars are too small to mount rams or where the space behind the gate is limited (e.g. the gate is flush to a driveway wall when open). Wheeled motors are also recommended when underground motors are impractical (high water tables / poor drainage). These generally require a metalled/paved drive and unsuitable for shingle/gravels drives, however there are agricultural models designed for uneven ground (farm tracks). Usually only inward opening, the maximum angle being determined by the hinge position (i.e. these motors are not limited by geometry but will open as wide as your gate aspect and hinge will allow).

Large pillars or outward opening - theses gate motors have a two-part arm which bends (articulates) allowing them to reach around large pillars and gateposts when required. Generally these motors can also be re-polarised allowing them to open a gate outwards (assuming the driveway approach is your own property and does not encroach on anyone else's land or public land). Usually opening with an angle of 90 to 130.

Discrete - ideal for gates where aesthetic sensibilities are paramount and the automation is hidden as much as possible. Suitable for most types of drive and usually available with either galvanised chambers / foundation boxes or stainless steel versions these motors are usually welded to a shoe on the underside of the gate. Drainage and a soak-away are necessary even on sealed units and oil-bath motors as these systems are not designed to remain immersed, standing in water. Generally underground motors will be inward opening with maximum angle of 90 to 130; however most have adaptor kits allowing them to open either 180 or 360. Some underground motors can be paired using an adapter bracket to actuate a single leaf, allowing bigger gates to be moved.

Safety considerations

What are the safety considerations for automatic gates?

The Health and safety executive have issued the following guidance on the fitting and maintaining of automatic gates, if however this does not answer your question then please do not hesitate to contact us.

What if I am delayed and the gates start to close before I am through the entrance?

Included in each Gate Motors kit is a pair of safety photocells that are normally mounted on each gatepost and project a beam across the entrance. If your car or any object (e.g. child or pet) breaks this beam the gate will either not move, or if it has already started to close, stop moving then reverse open again. If you have large / deep gates then an additional pair of photocells should be purchased and mounted on posts just beyond the leading edges of the open gate (see accessories ); these will protect the full radial sweep of the gate.

General usage and how the gates operate

What are the advantages of automated gates?

Convenience and security. Gate motor systems are designed to be opened via a small push-button wireless remote (key fob transmitter). This sends a coded radio signal to a radio receiver integrated into the gates' control unit which will open the gates. This means you can remain inside your vehicle and still open the gates. This removes the hassle of manually opening the gates and stops you being exposed to the elements and bad weather, and lastly gives you increased personal security when arriving home.

How far away can I open the gates?

About 30 metres in ideal conditions with a wireless remote. This range can be extended using an external aerial which have signal capture ranges of between 70m-100m. You can run the aerial out to an ideal location (where it offers the best line of sight to your approach) using standard RG58 antenna cable.

If you need to open your gate from even further away then a GSM switch is recommended. You can call the gate and the GSM switch will use your caller ID to recognise your telephone number without connecting the call (so no call charges) and open the gate. The caveat for the GSM switch is that you need reliable GSM mobile coverage near your gate for this solution to work.

What are the extra buttons on the transmitter for?

To avoid you having to carry around a pile of different transmitters for your other remote devices, these buttons may be programmed to open a second gate, a garage door, outside lighting, etcetera. Obviously, each device will need an additional radio receiver wired into it. Usually one of the buttons can be programmed with an emergency stop function too.

How can I be sure that the gates are securely closed?

Each gate motor control has the option of operating the gate motors in one of two ways:-

Full Automatic - in this mode the press of the transmitter button will open the gate and hold it open for a predetermined time (usually adjustable to between five and ninety seconds) and then close it automatically. This way no one needs to remember to shut the gate.

Semi Automatic - in this mode the press of the button will open the gate as before, but it won't close automatically until the button is pressed again to close it.

If in fully automatic mode can the gates be made to hold open?

It is possible with additional switches and or timers. Obviously security is compromised during this time.

What happens when there is a power cut?

All Gate Motors operators have an emergency release system, where a special key is used to disengage the motor gearing and allow the gate to be opened manually.

24v gate automation systems can also utilise emergency backup battery power to allow the gates to be used as normal in the event of a power cut.

Preparation and Installation

Is there anything specific I need to ask for or do to prepare the gate for automation?

Generally metal gates or metal frame gates with wood infill/panels will have sufficient rigidity for automation. For the latter where just the frame is metal, we would recommend using a reinforcing plate or metal crossbeam for the gate motor bracket mounting point.

For wooden gates it is recommended general bracing/reinforcing is added to ensure the stiffness/rigidity of the gate. Ideally the bracket mounting points should be affixed to a reinforcing plate (sandwiched to with a matching plate on the other side of the gate and secured using sleeved coach bolts). This will ensure the torque load is better distributed and the wooden frame is better protected from wear and tear.

What cabling will I need?

We have produced an electrical cabling guide to what type of cable you will require for the installation of your Gate System, if however this does not answer your question then please do not hesitate to contact us.

I need the gate to open 180 so I can pull into my garage / space at the side.

There are two possible solutions to this requirement:-
1) Use an underground motor with 180/360 adaptor;
2) Use a wheeled motor to open the gate.

In both cases the hinge position will need to be on the rear most edge of the gatepost to allow the gate to swing around flush to the boundary wall/hedge/fence.

What do I need to consider when thinking about automating my gates?

We have produced a list of some of the question you may wish to consider when thinking about automating your gates here in our guide to planning your gate system.

Visitors & Multiple Occupancy

When the gate is closed how do visitors let me know they are there and gain access?

You would usually have a wireless bell or two-way intercom at the gate. (See intercoms ).

How does the postman deliver, once my gates are in place?

If there is no other separate pedestrian entrance, then you have the option of a separate post box, (possibly built into the gate), a digital keypad on the gate pillar to allow your tradesmen (or friends) to open the gate by keying a coded number (the code can be easily changed if security is compromised for some reason), or maybe a proximity tag reader. (See accessories ).


What is an underground exit loop?

It is a loop of wire placed under the driveway and connected to a loop detector in the gates' control box. When a vehicle drives over the loop, it is sensed by the detector which then opens the gate automatically. This obviates the need for you seeing visitors off the premises. (See accessories ).

Will I need an electric lock?

Not normally; Gate Motors motors are non-reversible and will not move unless powered - so they effectively lock the gate shut. However, if your gates are not particularly rigid, they may flex enough for someone to squeeze through. In this case, we would suggest the fitting of an electric lock (see accessories).

It is essential to use gate stops with our MyAster & Diamond automation kits. The control board operates on resistance when the motors are in their deceleration phase (about to fully open or about to fully close). If the gates do not rest against a physical stop when they are either fully open or closed, the motors automatically continue for another few seconds to ensure it has completed the full cycle. Overtime, the gates will either over open / under close or under open and over close. If it is not possible for you to install centre gate stops then there is a centre gate stop work around to still allow you to use these electric gate kits.

Maintenance & Environment

Do the motors need maintaining?

Unlike hydraulic motors, Gate Motors' electromechanical motors need virtually no maintenance. All that is required is to obviously keep the motors and photocells free from grime and insects et cetera, and to grease any pivot points regularly.

Do I need to use gate stops?

Can I operate my gate in all weather conditions?

The automation kits supplied by Gate Motors each have their own benefits with all of them having the ability to adjust to the varying weather conditions through all seasons during the year by making minor adjustments to their control board functions. The installation guides supplied with the automation kits detail how these adjustments can be made. The only exception to this is where there are periods of extreme bad weather conditions during these times; the automation should not be used.

Can I operate my gates in extreme bad weather conditions?

With all of the automation kits supplied by Gate Motors, care and attention must be made to operating in extreme bad weather conditions. As the weather in the UK is becoming harsher with gale force winds, heavy rain and during winter times sub below temperatures and periods of heavy snow, the automation may struggle and it is not advised to use the automation to clear debris / snow from the driveway or to operate in gale force winds. The automation is designed to move the gates so you do not have to. If you struggle to open / close the gates normally by hand during periods of extreme bad weather, the automation kits would do too.

Why Buy from GateMotors
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